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Feline fiasco for Air Canada

Sept. 30, 2011, Edmonton - A woman who was trying to send her beloved pet cat to Ontario says she was devastated to learn the chubby feline escaped from Air Canada's cargo hold.


September 30, 2011
By Carey Fredericks

Vanessa Summerfield says she was shipping George back to her home province to stay with relatives until she could find an affordable, pet-friendly place in Fort McMurray.

But she recently got a call from the airline saying there had been a loose bolt on the cat's carrier and it had gotten loose at the Edmonton International Airport.

Baggage personnel managed to catch the cat once when the plane arrived in Edmonton from Fort McMurray, but not after he escaped a second time.

Air Canada says it handles all animals with care and is doing everything it can to locate him.

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The company is even putting out cat food in an attempt to lure him out of hiding, and airport staff have been asked to keep an eye out for him.

"We have about 4,000 employees,'' said airport spokeswoman Traci Bernard. "People like RCMP, people like security — they do patrols throughout the airport, so even just ensuring they have an awareness of a missing animals means they can be looking for that animal.''

Summerfield said she has had George for six years.

"I was hysterical, upset, angry, I just couldn't believe this actually happened,'' she said, adding there was nothing wrong with the carrier when she took George to the airport.

While Summerfield still holds out hope her cat will be found, she is also hoping no other pet owner has to go through this situation in the future.

"Really ask every question you can and really be sure when you're sending (your pet) on an airplane.''